Webinar: Soil Health, Soil Respiration and Nutrient Cycling

Will Brinton, Ph.D., explains the importance of various soil tests and how they relate to each other for overall soil health and productivity. He also discusses nutrient cycling and its role in soil health.

Soil Health
  • Cooperation of plants + organisms
  • No single test for soil health
  • different lab tests may reveal similar ranking
Tools Selected Based on Function
  • soil food-carbon
  • primary and secondary decomposers
  • nutrient + OM transport
  • structure & infiltration
  • respirator CO2-O2 Influx- Efflux
Soil Health Testing Issues
  • Practice of farming
    • are analyses relevant at magnitude of farming practices
    • can results be interpreted into management decisions
  • Practice of Science
    • disturbance of trait by lab process (sampling, drying, grinding)
    • converting results into fertilizer rates vs soil building practices
    • need to adjust indicators for physiographic regions
Multiple Factors Affect Soil Health
  • Soil order maps follow geophysical areas
  • climate intersects each soil zone and changes the quality significantly
  • Healthy soil arises out of intersection of 
    • physical
    • chemical
    • and biological forces
  • Farmer innovation with soil health cropping increases complexity of analysis
Testing Methods
  • Soil CO2 Burst
  • SLAN Amino N
  • ISNT
  • Solvita test
  • VAST: Volumetric Aggregate Stability Test
  • Soil biology tests varied less than nutrient tests

Illinois Soybean Association
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development and utilization efforts while the membership program supports the government relations interests of Illinois soybean farmers at the local, state, and national level through the Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG). ISA upholds the interests of Illinois soybean producers through promotion, advocacy, and education with the vision of becoming a market leader in sustainable soybean production and profitability. For more information, visit the website and



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